Hello and welcome to BC Helicopters. We hope you stay to check out the rest of our website to find out what makes us a leader in helicopter flight training.
We know you have a lot of questions as you're looking into getting your helicopter license and we want to help answer as many of those as possible right here.
Our school starts a new commercial class of students every 4 months, that's right, it only takes 4 months to get your commercial helicopters license. We have classes starting in January, May, and September.
Our school is set up to run 5 days per week, Monday to Friday. We have found that if you take the weekends off it gives you a chance to let the training of the week soak in and get yourself caught up and ready to start a new week of training.
We have set up our classes to only take in 4 students per instructor at a time. This was done very specifically. We have found this to be the magic number. We know that when you spend around $57,000.00 you want to get every penny of value out of that money. Our training environment allows you to do that. With us you never get lost in the numbers. The instructor gets to know you personally and that allows him to work one on one specifically with your learning style and make sure that you are progressing ahead of schedule. Flying the Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter really allows you to progress quickly through the course and get on to more advanced training than you would be able to in some other helicopters but more about that later.
Interestingly, there is no requirement to have any prior education or experience before starting your commercial helicopters license. You need to either have graduated highschool, or be over the age of 19, and you are eligible.
There is no need to have a fixed wing (aeroplane) license first, and you don't even need to have a private license first. Many countries start by giving you a private license and then upgrading you to a commercial but here in Canada we go straight to the Commercial license which eliminates a lot of work and costs.
Lets talk about the two things that you will want to make sure you have in order before day one of starting your training.
The first and often most intimidating step is finding the money to pay for this course. The best suggestion is just go talk to your bank and say you are looking for a student line of credit. They will most likely be able to help you out, especially if you can provide a guarantor to sign with you.
The next thing to get done is your class 1 aviation medical. Your first medical costs about $200 and is usually done within about 2 hours. The doctor will give you a physical check over, they check your eye sight (yes you can wear glasses or contacts) and color blindness, then they send you to get an ECG to make sure your heart is ok, and an audiogram to make sure your hearing is ok. Once your test is done they send your results away to Transport Canada and usually within 2-6 weeks you get your medical certificate back. I would suggest trying to get this done 2-4 weeks before you start your training or earlier if possible.
Many people wonder where in Canada would be best to do their training. I can tell you from personal experience having flown in most parts of Canada that there truely is nothing quite like flying in the coastal mountains of BC. We are located in Abbotsford which is about a 1 hour drive away from Vancouver. We are a 10 minute flight from the base of the mountains. 10 minutes from multiple training areas, and about a 20 minute flight to the top of 7000' glacier covered mountains. Going from sea level to 7000' and working on everything in between is pretty hard to beat. Our trees here are 200' tall and give you some increadible and challenging confined area landings. The river beds and lake beaches aren't bad for that either. Never have I found such a terrain rich training area as we have here in our backyard. We train people from all parts of the world and they are all amazed at the landscape that we have here. Industry companies pay special attention to what part of the Country you did your training in. Every company knows that there is no better training than in the South West part of British Columbia. This is also where the Cabri G2 fits back into the story. Having the performance of the Cabri combined with the stability and safety of it's 3 bladed fully articulated rotor system allows you to utilize this training playground unlike any other training helicopter can. We are working at higher altitudes and performing more advanced confined area landings just because of the amazing flight characteristics of the Cabri G2. This helicopter was specifically designed as a training helicopter and it shows based on it's safety, performance, and track record. This is why we focus heavily on doing the majority of our training on the Cabri G2 and then doing only the last 10 hours of the course on the Robinson R44. The R44 is great for what it does and you can read all about what makes it so great in the Aircraft section of our website. Getting your 10 hour endorsement is plenty of time to get very comfortable with the R44 but not too much time that you are wasting money. As I mentioned earlier we want to make sure that you maximize every dollar that you spend with us while still making yourself the most employable pilot possible. We feel that our 90/10 split course (90 hours Cabri G2/10 hours R44) is the ideal combination to maximize your training experience.
In conclusion I want to say there really is nothing like flying a helicopter for a living. It seems like you hardly look at the clock when you're at work anymore. The days just fly by because you are doing what you love to do. Every day is a new adventure. There are so many different career options as a helicopter pilot that you can do this job for the rest of your life and never get tired or bored of what you are doing. One year you could be flying heli-skiiers to the top of a freshly whitened mountain top, the next you could be fighting forest fires. You could be running scenic tours in Hawaii, or flying EMS in Vancouver. The options go on and on.
If you are a person who loves adventure, traveling, and operating machines then this could be a very exciting career for you. You could be done your training and ready to start working in only 4 months. If this sounds exciting to you then check out the rest of our website and get in touch with us right away. We are always here to answer more of your questions and help you through the steps to making this career a reality for you.